When the Marshall fire started on December 30, 2021, no one could imagine the devastation that would result. At Debbie Taussig Law, we are heartbroken to learn of the nearly-1000 homes that were destroyed, displacing thousands of individuals. We want to do everything we can to help those who lost so much. This guide was created to serve as a one-stop resource for those recovering after the Marshall fire. From points to consider when talking to your insurance company to resources available to individuals and their pets to ways to find housing in a tight housing market, we hope this resource will be helpful for anyone affected by the fire.
Initial Steps After the Marshall Fire
Contact Your Insurance Agent
Your insurance agent should be contacted immediately after your home was damaged or destroyed by the Marshall fire. You will need to talk to your insurance company about how to learn the value of your home and property, and what was covered under your policy.
If your home is damaged but not destroyed, depending on the level of damage, there are companies that specialize in restoring and cleaning your personal item. Your insurance company should be able to make recommendations so you can hire a company you can trust.
In addition, it is important to know what your insurance company will pay for and what will be an out-of-pocket expense for you. Make sure you get the insurance companies commitment in writing, as well as a cost estimate from the cleaning/restoration company in writing.
If you do not have insurance or your insurance does not cover all your losses, there are resources available to you to help get you back on your feet. Organizations that may help include:
- American Red Cross
- Religious organizations
- Public Agencies, like Boulder County or the City of Louisville
- Local emergencies services, like Boulder Office of Emergency Management
- Non-profit centers
- Local Businesses, retail stores and restaurants
Housing for Those Displaced by the Marshall Fire
Finding housing can be daunting. There are several available resources for those displaced by the Marshall Fire.
- List of available rentals for displaced residence through Boulder Area Rental Housing Association
- List of available housing through Boulder County United
- Thistle Communities is offering 12-month leases on rent-restricted rentals – regardless of income – to those displaced by the Marshall fire for affordable rates. Contact Jessica Kronfuss at 720-696-6304 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- PMP Realty in Longmont is offering assistance with the first month’s rent for rentals.
- Lyons is offering RV spots at Laverne Johnson Park. Contact Victoria Simonsen, email@example.com for mor information
- Adventure Lodge at 91 Four Mile Canyon is offering free rooms. Call 303-444-0882 for more information.
- A list of discounted hotel rooms in Boulder and Denver is also available.
Restaurants Offering Help to Those Displaced by the Marshall Fire
The ever-growing list of restaurants offering to help those displaced by the Marshall Fire with free meals is overwhelming and a testimony to the support this community offers to one another. As of the time of writing this document, it included nearly 100 restaurants through the Restaurants Revive program. Please click on the link to get a list of the restaurants participating in the program.
Take Care of Your Family and Yourself – Emotional and Psychological Support
While every situation is different, it is especially important that you take care of yourself and your family. An event like the Marshall fire can have a significant impact on a person’s wellbeing, and that impact can be felt at different times for different people—even months after the fire. While the knee-jerk reaction after something a traumatic as the Marshall fire may be to do it alone, it is important to know that help is available for you and your family.
Here is a list of mental health resources available to those who were affected by the Marshall fire:
- Boulder County Wildfire Mental Health – 303-441-1100
- Victim Advocate Line – 303-441-3856
- Disability and Disaster Hotline – 1-800-626-4959 (call/text)
- Mental Health Partners – 303-443-8500
- Colorado Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-844-493-TALK (8255), text TALK to 38255 or chat via www.coloradocrisisservices.org
- Disaster Distress Hotline – 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
- Community Health Workers – virtual team of Mental Health Partner’s providers who are available on Facebook
- National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255
- Contact Colorado Crisis Services at 1 (844) 493-8255, or text “TALK” to 38255, to speak with a professional counselor about any area where you could use support for yourself or a loved one, from loneliness and isolation, to stress, relationship issues, substance use and other common concerns.
- JFS Boulder County Crisis Counseling: In response to multiple tragic events over the last year, Jewish Family Service and Community Foundation Boulder County have partnered to offer counseling services to Boulder County residents. The program offers up to $500 towards five individual counseling sessions (a maximum of $100 per session), or up to $875 towards five family counseling sessions (a maximum of $175 per session) and provides a pool of licensed providers from which to choose.
- I Matter: 3 free mental health sessions for any youth in the state, largely available via telehealth.
Help Your Pets
Many pets were separated from their guardians during the Marshall fire. Agencies and some veterinarian services and retail stores across Boulder County want to help people displaced by the fire care for their pets.
The following organizations and businesses are offering services to help those displaced by the Marshall fire care for their pets:
- Humane Society of Boulder Valley: Families who need temporary housing for their dog, cat, or small animal can bring them to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley during business hours. The Humane Society also has food and supplies available to displaced families for their pets, if needed.
- Longmont Humane Society: The Longmont Humane Society is offering free boarding. For assistance in this matter, pet owners are asked to call at 303-772-1232.
- Destination Pet: Three of its locations are offering free boarding to those displaced by the Marshall fire. The locations include:
- The Dog Spot & The Cat Pad
3640 Walnut Street in Boulder
8308 Church Ranch Blvd. in Westminster
2103 Colorado 42 in Louisville
- If you have lost your pet and need to be reunited, please contact the following Boulder Humane Society link.
- If you have lost your pet in the fire and would like a professional portrait of your pet, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Security and Safety after the Marshall fire
There are a few tips which may prove invaluable to staying safe after the Marshall fire.
- Do not enter your home until you are given permission by the fire department or Boulder County Emergency Services says it is ok to do so.
- Avoid hot ash, smoldering debris, charred trees, and live embers.
- Watch the ground for pits that are filled with ash.
- If in the fire area for clean-up, wear a N-95 respirator mask. Cloth masks are not adequate for the fumes.
- A tetanus vaccination is recommended for all residents returning to the Marshall fire burn area, if they have not had a tetanus shot in the last ten years.
- Use only vacuum cleaners with a HEPA filter.
- When cleaning any items or areas left by the fire, only use soap and water, because chemicals from cleaners could react with chemicals from the ash and cause a toxic reaction.
- Residents whose homes were destroyed or damaged are encouraged to sign up for a free sifting service offered by two organizations vetted by the City of Louisville: Southern Baptist and Samaritan’s Purse. To sign up visit the Disaster Assistance Center: 1755 S. Public Road, Lafayette, CO from 9am to 7pm 7 days a week.
While finances may seem to be the least of your concerns after the Marshall fire, there are still steps that must be taken.
- Contact your mortgage lender or landlord.
- Prepare a list of items lost in the fire. If you have any photos of those items, gather them for the insurance adjuster.
- If an item is damaged, do not throw it out until a claims adjuster has visited your home.
- Contact your credit card company if a card was lost in the fire.
- Save all receipts for any money that is spent after the fire. The insurance company may ask for these receipts, and they will also be necessary to prove losses on your tax return.
- Pay attention to IRS tax relief. Currently, victims of the Marshall fire have an extended until May 16,2022 to file tax returns and make tax payments. Additional tax benefits may be coming, as well.
Those whose places of work were impacted can file an emergency unemployment insurance claim through the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. See link for details.
Interestingly, if you were able to recover cash that was burned in the fire, you may be able to replace it. Here are some tips for handling money that was partially destroyed by the fire:
- Handle the money little as possible
- Put each bill carefully in plastic wrap
- If 50% or more of the bill is intact, take it to the regional Federal Reserve and get it replaced. You can also send it to the Treasury.
- If you are sending burnt money via FedEx, UPS or via courier, send it the following address:
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
MCD/OFM, Room 344A
14th and C Streets SW
Washington, DC 20228
- For USPS Delivery, have it mailed via registered mail, return receipt requested and mail to”
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
MCD/OFM, Room 344A
PO Box 37048
Washington DC 20013
Replacing Important Records and Documents
If the following records and documents were lost in the fire, you may want to replace them. While it may seem time-consuming, having these documents replaced before you need them will save a lot of stress down the road.
- Driver’s License
- Social Security Cards
- Citizenship Papers
- Medicare Cards
- Auto Registration
- Titles and Deeds
- Insurance Policies
- Credit Cards
- Birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates or papers
- Military Discharge Papers
- Stocks and Bonds
- Medical Records
- Income Tax Records
- Savings Bonds
It should be noted that Rep. Joe Neguse’s office is assisting with replacement of lost social security cards and passports, as well as help accessing FEMA disaster assistance generally. Call 303-334-1045 for more information.
The following offices are also helping residents replace lost documents: email@example.com Office Number 303-455-7600 and Jordan_Wells@hickenlooper.senate.gov Office Number 303-244-1628
We were heartbroken to hear of all the loss and devastation in our community due to the Marshall fire. We hope this resource will help those who lost so much. If there is anything we can do to help at Debbie Taussig Law, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We are here for you. Call us at any time at 303-442-0176.